Sunday, March 13, 2011

Concept Development {200 Drawings}

The Artist encounters his worst enemy: The Art Block.

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Music: Yann Tiersen - L'autre valse d'amelie
Program: Flash CS5

Project: 200 Drawings
Time: 1 week
Brief: Create a sequence of 200 Drawings based on whatever idea you want. It may be a linear piece or an interactive. Music or sound must be included as well.

Hindsight: As this was the first piece of animation I've done for awhile, I feel like I've missed the mark for this assignment. The intention was to let the mind go wild and fly around with ideas. But I was too afraid of not getting the work completed and opted for a scripted idea rather than something spontaneous. Guess we have to start somewhere. I am slightly disappointed with it, but at the same time proud that I managed to do this in 2 1/2 days...
Animation {CutOuts}

{The Brief}

In groups of 3, create a 40 - 60 sec animation using cut out techniques. We were to create 1 character each (3 characters in total) , an inanimate object + other background elements. And using those, we were to tell a story and show each character's emotions and personalities by the way they moved.

Lindy - Bunny
Alesh - Unicyclist
Kelly - Umbrella
All - Cloud, Background & Effects


I think the challenging part was the initial stages of collaboration. It was only the first week of school, and the three of us were pretty new to each other. The first discussions were, from my point of view, a time to figure out how each of us worked. It was also a time for us to flounder around trying to pull ideas out of the air \(@___@)/ Boy was that tough...
Some friction is always to be expected in such situations... and as much as I naturally hate uncomfortable situations and conflict, I knew it was something I needed to accept and embrace as part of life.

I believed in sticking with the rules and being safe in the knowledge that we had the major details of our story locked down. I felt that having a solid storyline - Beginning, Middle & End - before going into our first project was rather important. It was actually quite frustrating for me to try to think of story when all I could draw was a blank. It was like... "I know what I want.... But I don't know what it looks like!" Might have been frustrating for my co-workers too ~(>m<)~ Wonder how they felt about our first discussions...

It was a little later on that I was reminded that cutout animation was a spontaneous form of animation. You went straight ahead into the animation with what you knew about Principles of Animation, not being able to turn back. And it got me to thinking that perhaps... one didn't need to lock down every single little detail in this case.

At the end of the first week, after 2 or 3 discussions, we collectively decided to just create our characters, create the object and all other elements needed and then just GO!

The results were surprising XD And though we had a quiet start, the further we went along, the more exciting the process got. I enjoyed the fact that while we were taking turns to move our characters bit by bit, we were throwing ideas here and there and just asking "What if?" And when we hit something we liked, we were like "Yeah! Let's do that! Wahahah...."

And playing back the animation was really cool because we saw little by little how the story was coming together. The playback was frequently surprising and that helped us to keep going >u< I think we were especially happy when we figure out how to do LIGHTNING. XD It was so cool. After the first time getting it the way we wanted, we used every chance we could to add it in. Haha... XD Excited like children~

Ah. And then, stupidity. After we were done with our filming, I made the mistake of closing Frame Thief with the intention of opening it to refresh our project file (there was some sort of glitch at the end). That... didn't work out quite like what I expected. After being warned by Kelly to export a movie file out first, I still went ahead and did it thinking that I could do that when Frame Thief reopened.

To our horror, our project opened showing only 100 + frames of our 900+ frames of animation. Thankfully, all the images we captured were still where they were. And for the next 20 minutes or so, we calmly and collectively (HAH.) figured out a way to 'export' our animation using any way we could. We even entertained the idea of converting every single frame of our animation from .ptc to .png files. It made us want to cry. In the end, Alesh saved us with his knowledge of Final Cut Pro! Thanks, Alesh!

Thank God seriously that "picture" files were readable in Final Cut. I am told, they weren't readable in After Effects (Something about the file format being specifically for FrameThief only). So, animation saved, we could breath again \(>u<)/ I'll make sure to slow down my actions and consider things before clicking. Still, It was good that we found out some technical things we would otherwise not have known...

All in all, though our final result was nothing like what we initially discussed, we were happy with it :D And through our 8 hours together, I think we learnt a lot about teamwork, discussions, being gracious and patient, basic animation techniques and how to have fun together. Hope this would help us grow to be more mature animators and artists \(>u<)/